Results tagged ‘ Bruce Seid ’

Ferrone joins scouting department

 The Brewers have hired veteran scout Joe Ferrone to serve as national crosschecker, one of a number of amateur scouting additions announced Thursday. 
Ferrone has scouted for the Expos, Dodgers, Tigers and Pirates and was responsible for signing players like Ted Lilly and Shane Victorino. He’ll work alongside Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid and replaces Seid’s former assistant, Ray Montgomery, who took the top amateur scouting job with the D-backs. 
“I’ve known Joe since my first year of scouting in ’93, and that was his first year of scouting, so we kind of grew up together,” Seid said. “He’s been a good scout, a good people person, a good evaluator.” 
Ferrone graduated from UC-Santa Barbara in 1989 and was an infielder on the baseball team for four years (1986-89). He also played professionally for Perugia in the Italian Baseball Federation in 1990 before attending graduate school for sports management at Ohio University in 1992. He lives in Michigan. 
In other scouting-related news: 
— The Brewers named Jim Rooney their national pitching crosschecker. Rooney has filled a number of roles in Milwaukee’s farm system including roving pitching coordinator. 
— Jay Lapp was promoted to supervisor of the Brewers’ scouting efforts in Canada. Lapp is the scout who recommended Brewers closer John Axford. 
— The team hired three new area scouts in the U.S.: Shawn Whalen (who will cover the Pacific Northwest), Brendan Hause (Southwest) and former Brewers outfielder Drew Anderson (Midwest). Anderson’s territory will include Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and the Dakotas. He’s a Nebraska native who played nine big league games for the Brewers in 2006 and spent this last season between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. 
— The Brewers also added three area scouts in Latin American countries: Pedro Hernandez and Juan Martinez in the Dominican Republic and Reinaldo Hidalgo in Venezuela. 
— Closer to home, Amanda Kropp was promoted to Manager, Administration — Amateur Scouting. Kropp is in her ninth year in Milwaukee’s front office. 
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Seid confirms: Montgomery on the move

Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid confirmed today that the team is losing another of its top scouts. Assistant scouting director Ray Montgomery is leaving the Brewers to become the D-backs’ amateur scouting director.

Montgomery spent eight seasons in Milwaukee’s organization, including the past two as scouting director Bruce Seid’s top aide. He originally joined the Brewers as an area scout for South Texas and Louisiana in December 2002 and was responsible for the scouting and signing second baseman Rickie Weeks in 2003.
“Ray has been a strong and successful part of this organization and we wish him well,” Seid said. “My goal is to continue to train, develop and promote our own scouts and also be open to pursuing others.”
In Arizona, Montgomery will replace Tom Allison, another former Brewers scout.
The move was first reported Wednesday night by the Arizona Republic and confirmed to by a baseball official. The D-backs were not available to comment.
Seid, Montgomery, Allison and Astros scouting director Bobby Heck all once worked under the Brewers’ highly regarded former scouting director Jack Zduriencik, who is now the general manager in Seattle.
The D-backs earlier this week added another man with Brewers ties in former second baseman Eric Young, who is joining Arizona as first-base coach.
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Seid confirms Brewers monitoring Loux

Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid confirmed that the Brewers have had one of their scouts — Jeremy Booth — monitor a pair of throwing sessions by D-backs first-round Draft pick Barrett Loux. The right-hander was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball after medical concerns got in the way of his signing with Arizona.
As I wrote last night, it makes sense that the Brewers are one of the clubs taking a look at Loux. He fits the mold of pitcher they prefer — 6-foot-4 with a 91-94 mph fastball when healthy — and the Brewers have some money left in the budget after their own first-round pick, right-hander Dylan Covey, went unsigned after a surprise Diabetes diagnosis. 
“We’ve known Barrett since high school and we like the talent,” Seid wrote in an e-mail to “We have seen him a lot this year and in years past. … We are in the process of weighing out our risk/reward assessment based on his medical [reports] with our staff. So, as we would every player we have interest in, we are following-up to see his progress since he has had a long layoff.”
The Astros, Marlins, Rangers, Cubs, Twins, Giants, Phillies and Mariners were also on hand to watch Loux throw between 50 and 60 pitches for about 25 minutes on Thursday afternoon in College Station, Tex.
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No deal for Covey, Brewers

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Brewers and their first-round Draft pick didn’t strike a deal. 
Right-hander Dylan Covey, the 14th overall selection in June’s First-Year Player Draft, declined the Brewers’ offer ahead of Monday’s 11:01 p.m. CT signing deadline and will instead attend the University of San Diego this fall. The Brewers, meanwhile, will get an extra pick in next year’s Draft, likely No. 15 overall, as compensation. 
The Brewers missed on Covey but did sign 34 of their 50 Draft picks, including all 11 players selected from Rounds 2-12, six of whom are pitchers. They also signed six undrafted free agents. 
“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. “He would have been the cherry on top of what looks like a very nice Draft class. There’s no hard feelings.”
Seid said the problem wasn’t the size of the Brewers’ offer. He deflected further comment to the Covey family. 
“We made a serious effort,” Seid said. “Generous, based on the set of circumstances.”
Covey made it clear on Draft day that he wanted at least $2 million to sign, slightly more than the $1.7 million recommended by Major League Baseball for his slot. Amateur scouting director Bruce Seid handled final negotiations at the family’s Pasadena, Calif. home with West Coast crosschecker Corey Rodriguez.
Before Covey, Milwaukee had signed all of its first-round Draft picks since Kenny Henderson was the fifth overall selection in 1991. He went to the University of Miami instead and was drafted in the fourth round by Montreal three years later, but again declined to sign. When the Padres took Henderson in the fifth round in 1995, he finally signed and topped-out at advanced Class A Rancho Cucamonga in 1997. After a stint in independent baseball, Henderson’s career was over. 
Covey, a graduate of Pasadena Calif.’s Maranatha High school, turned 19 on Saturday and had a scholarship offer from the University of San Diego to use as leverage in negotiations with the team. Rodriguez stayed in communication with Covey and his family throughout the summer, but the Brewers didn’t make a formal offer until Monday, according to Dylan’s father, Darrell, who officially handled talks to preserve his son’s amateur status. 
That lull was not unusual. Most teams waited until the end to submit figures, a strategy to hold down the rising tide of amateur signing bonuses. 
Covey drew pre-draft comparisons to the Giants’ Matt Cain and the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley, the latter of whom plays his home games just down the 110 freeway from the Covey residence. In his senior season at Maranatha, Covey went 7-1 with a 0.40 ERA and three saves. He struck out 138 batters versus 20 walks in 70 2/3 innings and was named Gatorade’s California Baseball Player of the Year. 
Seid stressed the pitchers who have signed with the Brewers, a list headed by second-round pick Jimmy Nelson. The right-hander from the University of Alabama has not pitched for rookie-level Helena since Aug. 5, but he has 19 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings and has allowed only two earned runs in his last 10 2/3 innings of work after a tough start. 
“He had a couple rough innings off the bat, but he’s settled in,” Seid said. “He’s got many more strikeouts than innings, and he’s been clocked up to 96 [mph].”
Third-rounder Tyler Thornburg from Florida Southern University struck out 20 batters in his first 9 1/3 professional innings at Helena and has touched 98 mph. Fifth-rounder Matthew Miller from the University of Michigan is throwing 91-94 mph and leads the Pioneer League with six wins while ranking second with a 1.11 WHIP and fourth with a 2.62 ERA. 
That group is at the back end of a pitching pipeline that club officials have made a point to prop up in recent weeks. Seid highlighted the prospect-rich staff at Double-A Huntsville, where right-handers Wily Peralta, Mark Rogers, Jeremy Jeffress and Andre Lamontagne all possess size and power fastballs. The Brewers might be highest of all on right-hander Jake Odorizzi, a 20-year-old pitching at Class A Wisconsin.
“There’s a tremendous amount to be excited about,” Seid said. “There are some darn good arms in this system that have a chance to flourish. We’re pretty excited about what the next few years are going to bring from a pitching standpoint.”
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Brewers ink Dominican trio

The Brewers agreed to terms with a trio of right-handed pitchers last week after they auditioned for general manager Doug Melvin at the team’s new facility in the Dominican Republic, amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said.  
The Brewers have agreements in place with Eduard Reyes, 19, Carlos Sosa, 18, and Elvis Mora, 17, though all three contracts are pending a Major League Baseball investigation into the player’s ages. Such investigations are now standard practice in International signings, and can take 4-6 weeks to complete. 
Seid’s policy is not to reveal signing bonuses, but he did say that all three players came at a “reasonable” cost. Melvin was at the academy last week and saw all three pitchers in person. 
“We felt like we maximized our dollars with these three guys,” Seid said. “They’re all 90-plus [mph] velocity guys at 17-19 years old.” 
The Brewers had been tracking all three players at their new academy north of the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. Milwaukee had ceased operating a Dominican academy in 2003, soon after Melvin and and assistant GM Gord Ash were hired, and instead put the money they had been spending on the facility toward higher-profile signings. 
The experiment yielded only modest results, so last summer the Brewers resumed a Dominican presence in a co-venture with the Orioles. The Brewers subsequently moved into a complex previously owned by the Phillies, complete with two baseball fields, batting cages, housing and mess facilities and classroom space where players are instructed in English, among other topics. The idea is to prepare young players — most are 16-19 — to eventually move to affiliates in the U.S. 
Whether Reyes, the oldest of last week’s signees at 19, makes that jump immediately remains to be seen, Seid said. While MLB’s age investigation is ongoing, Reyes will continue to participate at the academy. 
“He threw 90-91 [mph] for us and had a good feel to pitch,” Seid said. “He wanted to sign, and we were on board with that.” 
Reyes was a participant in the Dominican Prospect League, an organization that is trying to bring some order to a scouting process that in the past has been scattered. The DPL first trumpeted Reyes’ deal with the Brewers on its website last week. 
Sosa is the big man of the trio at 6-foot-6. Mora touched 93 mph for Brewers scouts and Seid compared him to former Brewers pitcher Salomon Torres, a fellow Dominican. 

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Halama anxious to mount comeback

Family matters pulled John Halama away from the Majors three years ago. He’s hoping the Brewers offer an opportunity to get back. 

The 37-year-old left-hander earlier this week agreed to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Halama has pitched in 262 Major League games in nine seasons for seven teams but he hasn’t been in a big league camp since 2006, with Baltimore. 

“I’m really thankful that they are giving me an opportunity,” Halama said from the Dominican Republic, where he was set to make his eighth winter league start on Wednesday night. “The way that it was explained to me was that I would come into camp with an opportunity to win a big league job, so I have to be ready to go. 

“That’s all I’ve ever asked, let me have an opportunity to open up some eyes. I’m really excited to get back in the game. I’ve had some personal things go on in my life that affected me and got me out of the game, but now I’m clear-minded and I’m ready to go. I’m getting a second chance, and I’m fully aware of that.” 

If Halama wins a spot on the Major League roster he would draw a $450,000 salary. Otherwise, he would go to Triple-A Nashville as insurance for the Brewers, who fell out of contention in 2009 when they failed to fill spots in the rotation caused by injuries to Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan.

Halama began last season in the independent Atlantic League and was 8-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 69 innings, drawing the interest of the Braves. At Triple-A Gwinnett, Halama was 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 13 starts and three relief appearances. He had a 3.69 ERA in his starts. 

Pitching for Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League, Halama entered his start Wednesday night 4-2 with a 1.64 ERA. In seven starts and 44 innings, he had 24 strikeouts and three walks. Both of the losses were in 1-0 games, according to Halama’s agent, Joe Rosario

Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid and assistant scouting director Ray Montgomery happened to be in the Dominican Republic last week so they stopped by to watch Halama work six innings in a win over a Licey lineup that featured eight hitters with at least one game of Major League experience. Halama allowed one run on seven hits. 

“He did what you would expect from a guy with experience and know-how,” Seid said. “He pitched to his strengths with the ability to make adjustments. That’s what experienced pitchers do. He’s in good condition and his arm worked well, and experience takes over for those guys. It’s better than a Triple-A guy who’s 32, 33 but doesn’t have the big league experience.” 

Familiarity helped foster the deal. Halama pitched in Oakland in 2003 under now-Brewers manager Ken Macha and pitching coach Rick Peterson. Before that he pitched four seasons with the Mariners while Chris Bosio was a roving pitching coach for Seattle. Bosio is now a Brewers advance scout. 

Halama said he planned to make two more starts for Aguilas after Thanksgiving before returning to the U.S. He turns 38 on Feb. 22, two days after the formal date for Brewers pitchers and catchers to report for Spring Training. 

“I know it’s going to be different,” Halama said. “The baseball part is probably going to feel weird because I haven’t been in big league camp in so long, but I’m positive that I’ll fit in. It’s going to be a little foreign to me, but not too foreign.”


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New Brewer Heckathorn: 'It's time to go'

The Brewers made Kyle Heckathorn an offer he just couldn’t refuse.

Heckathorn, a big right-hander from Kennesaw State University and the 47th overall pick in last month’s First-Year Player Draft, passed a physical at Miller Park on Saturday and finalized his first professional contract. It includes a $776,000 signing bonus, plus a rare invitation to big league camp next spring.

The Brewers don’t extend those invitations lightly to recent Draft picks. Matt LaPorta, Milwaukee’s first-round pick in 2007, wasn’t promised a spot, though he later got one. Rickie Weeks, the team’s top pick — second overall — in 2003, got an invitation, but that was because he signed a Major League contract. Prince Fielder was invited to camp after the Brewers selected him in the first round in 2002.

“Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee’s general manager] doesn’t easily give those out,” Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid said. “In this case, we felt that with what Kyle brings — his size, he’s mature, he’s smart — this was an ideal situation.” 

So Heckathorn, 21, who could have returned to college, instead joined a select list of Brewers Draft picks who made quick ascents to the Majors.

“They came up with the money, and then the invite to Spring Training, that was the capper,” said Heckathorn, who planned to splurge on a new pick-up truck. “That’s all I needed. They compromised, I compromised. Now it’s time to go. It’s time to start my professional career.”

He will report to rookie-level Helena on Monday. Heckathorn figures he’ll need a week or two to get back into pitching shape. 

“I’ve been running and throwing a lot,” he said, “trying to keep my arm strength up.”

Heckathorn went to Milwaukee in the supplemental phase of the Draft’s first round, the team’s second selection in the Draft behind first-rounder and fellow right-hander Eric Arnett. Like Arnett, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Heckathorn is a power arm coming off his junior season in college. Club officials were not shy in the weeks leading up to the Draft in saying they were high on Heckathorn, who can reach 99 mph with his fastball but sits more comfortably in the 94-97 mph range, and also features a hard slider.

He was 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 86 1/3 innings for Kennesaw State this season, including a 15-strikeout game. After the Draft, Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid said that the team intended to introduce Heckathorn to Minor Leagues as a starter.

“This is the best place for me,” Heckathorn said. “I’m lucky they got me and I’m fortunate to be a Brewer.”

With Heckathorn in the fold, 27 of the Brewers’ 53 selections are under contract including 14 of the first 17 picks.

Only one of the team’s first six picks remains unsigned ahead of the Aug. 17 deadline: University of Tennessee outfielder and fellow supplemental first-round pick Kentrail Davis, a Scott Boras client.

“Any time you’re dealing with Scott Boras, it’s always going to be a drawn-out situation,” Seid said. “But that’s not a negative; we just know that. We have a relationship with him. We’ll just continue to take steps forward.”

Davis was sophomore-eligible, meaning he could return to Tennessee for two more seasons.

Seid said the Brewers were still working to sign fourth-round pick Brooks Hall, a right-handed pitcher, and Florida State University outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson, the team’s fifth-round selection.

Brewers sign Dominican OF

Thursday marked the beginning of baseball’s international signing period, and the Brewers made a splash by coming to terms with outfielder Jose Pena, a highly-regarded 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic.

Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid confirmed the deal before boarding a return flight to the U.S. He would not discuss Pena’s reported $400,000 signing bonus, which would be short of the club-record bonus for an international player that went to right-hander Rolando Pascual in 2005. Pascual received $710,000.

The Brewers also came to terms with 17-year-old Dominican right-hander Jean Capellan, Seid said. It’s believed that Capellan received a five-figure bonus.

The team is also being “aggressive” toward signing several other Latin American prospects, Seid said. When it’s all said and done, Pena will be the highest-profile International pick-up.

“It’s official. He signed,” Seid said. “We’re real happy that we got Jose Pena. We’ve been watching him for some time and had him at a couple of workouts, and [Brewers general manager] Doug Melvin was down here and saw him. We’ve been really able to cover the bases on Jose Pena.”

Some steps remain. Pena must pass a physical, plus Major League Baseball’s official background check that verifies players’ ages. Pena just turned 16 in March, and Seid expected no problems in that process.

Pena, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, is a right-handed hitter described by Seid as a polished hitter with power and projectability.

“He’s a great ‘make-up’ kid,” Seid said. “He’s someone who looks you in the eye and takes instruction well. Overall, the package is good in terms of ability, power, athleticism and make-up.” 

Capellan is a right-hander who reaches 92 mph with his fastball and features a hard breaking ball. 

“He has an aggressive mound presence,” Seid said. “I liked what I saw from him. He wasn’t considered a top-tier prospect, but to our organization he’s got potential to do something from a pitching standpoint.” 

Both Pena and Capellan will probably begin their professional careers at the Brewers new facility in the Dominican Republic. They co-opted an academy beginning this spring with the Orioles.

Brewers tried, but didn't see Pedro pitch

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin confirmed a report that he sent a scout to watch free agent right-hander Pedro Martinez work out in the Dominican Republic on Friday.

The Brewers sent two scouts, in fact. But they never saw Pedro pitch.

“This was twice [this week],” said Dick Groch, the Brewers director of pro scouting. “The second time we sent people there, his publicist was there and the publicist says, ‘He’s on his way.’ He was already 45 minutes late. … We had other workouts to do. We can’t wait forever. We [told the scout], ‘Go. You can’t stay there forever.'”

The scouts were Bruce Seid, Milwaukee’s amateur scouting director, and Fernando Arango, the club’s Latin American coordinator. They were already in Santo Domingo for a series of showcases with amateur players ahead of the July 2 international signing date. Melvin, who is on the lookout for pitching help, figured it made sense to swing by for a look at Martinez.

Groch’s understanding was that the handful of scouts from other teams left at the same time. That contradicted a report from Hoy, a major newspaper in the Dominican Republic, that said Martinez threw 75 pitches Friday at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo in front of reps from Yankees, Rangers, D-backs, Nationals, Cubs, Indians and Angels.

A separate report from’s Jon Heyman that said six teams, including the Brewers, watched Martinez “perform a pitching demonstration.”’s Buster Olney wrote on his blog that, “At least several teams walked away from Pedro Martinez’s throwing session unimpressed and uninterested in signing him.”

The Brewers didn’t walk away unimpressed, because they never saw Martinez at all. Martinez’s longtime agent, Fernando Cuza, was not immediately available to clarify his client’s situation.

“He might have worked out at a different time,” Melvin said. “We don’t know that. All I know from our people is he wasn’t there when we were told to be.”

The Brewers, who are operating with four starters at the moment but will need to add a fifth on Saturday, have not ruled out Martinez if he comes at the right price. But they are not going to jump in and make an offer if they can’t see him throw, Melvin said.

“I don’t know what the demands are, but it doesn’t matter what they are,” Melvin said. “If you can’t watch him throw, it doesn’t matter what his demands are. Would you go put an offer on a house without looking at the house?”

The Brewers have been actively scouting the top talent available in the Dominican Republic, where young players aren’t subject to the just-completed First-Year Player Draft. They have made splashy signings there before, including Roque Mercedes in 2004 and Rolando Pascual and Wily Peralta in 2005. Mercedes has a 0.95 ERA in 21 relief appearances at advanced Class A Brevard County, and Peralta has a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances this season at Class A Wisconsin. Pascual is working with the Brewers-Orioles co-op affiliate in the Dominican Republic.

Might they add another player after July 2?

“We’re looking at it,” Melvin said.

Younger Ash works Day 3 of Draft

Doug Melvin’s son has already followed dad into the scouting ranks, and perhaps Gord Ash’s boy is on the same path.

Twelve-year-old Aaron Ash, the son of the Brewers’ assistant general manager, announced 16 of the Brewers’ 20 picks on Day 3 of the First-Year Player Draft, which is conducted via conference call with Major League Baseball and all 30 clubs. As is so often the case in baseball, it was all about superstition.

The younger Ash was just eight years old when he made his Draft debut, announcing the Brewers’ selection of right-hander Omar Aguilar in the 30th round in 2005. Aguilar has turned into a quality prospect who was added to Milwaukee’s 40-man roster last winter.

“We figured we would try to ride Aaron’s luck some more,” Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid said. “Aguilar has been a good pick for us.”

Amanda Kropp, an administrator in the Brewers’ scouting department, made most of the Brewers’ other picks. She was hard on herself Wednesday after mispronouncing one of the names on Milwaukee’s list.

No biggie, Seid said.

“We have a good time in our Draft room,” Seid said. “No nerves, no pressure. We all laugh and make jokes and have fun with each other.”